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    Henry James

    A CONTROVERSIAL extension to Skelmersdale’s Whitemoss hazardous waste landfill site can now be built after campaigners lost their case at the Supreme Court.

    The court refused permission to hear the appeal against the proposals which will see 150,000 tonnes of hazardous waste brought to the site on White Moss Road South annually.

    The extension plans were originally approved by the Government in 2015 but since then members of campaign group ARROW (Action to Reduce and Recycle Our Waste) have mounted a number of legal challenges to the Secretary of State’s decision.

    ARROW have been critical of the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) system by which the proposals were passed. They say it “bypasses local authority scrutiny and opposition.”

    But Whitemoss bosses have said they can now move forward with their plans.

    Nicola Escott of ARROW said: “This ruling means that Whitemoss Ltd. do not need to prove their site is needed and can carry on landfilling material that experts say can be recycled or treated more sustainably.”

    Councillor Nicola Pryce-Roberts, borough councillor for the Skelmersdale South ward, added: “West Lancashire Borough Council was unanimous in its opposition to the Whitemoss expansion. That counted for nothing.

    “And Lancashire County Council determined that Whitemoss was not needed when they considered the Lancashire Minerals and Waste Plan in 2012.

    “The local community, including parish councils where they exist who will be most affected by the continuation and expansion of Whitemoss, have in both words and deeds continually expressed that they also do not want Whitemoss.

    “This has been imposed on the community from central government via the central planning process, for the benefit of a private company. Every community throughout the country should be mindful of that.

    “The three tiers of democracy (county, borough and parish) with locally accountable, elected representatives are not considered relevant. Nor it seems are the wishes of the landowners adjacent to the dump.”

    Del Ellis of ARROW commented: “We need to continue with this campaign and there are still other possible legal avenues that could be explored. We are indebted for the continued support of individuals, businesses and organisations that have stood with us to protect our community against potential harm from this facility.”

    West Lancs MP, Rosie Cooper, said: “This is further disappointing news for residents of Skelmersdale and West Lancashire, the ARROW campaign group and local democracy. Both West Lancs Council and Lancashire County Council have been against this application, as have residents of Skelmersdale, yet the Government and the courts decide to ride roughshod over local opinion and democracy.

    “I will continue to work with residents and ARROW to consider what options are now available to pursue in order to safeguard the health of local residents.”

    Rob Routledge, managing director of Whitemoss Landfill Ltd., responded: “We are pleased that the formal legal process has now concluded. The Supreme Court’s decision was that ARROW’s case was ‘unarguable’. This clear and unequivocal ruling means we can now move forward with our plans, which will help ensure that much-needed homes can be built on former brownfield sites, more recycling of wastes and more carbon-neutral generation of electricity.

    “There has been no use of compulsory purchase powers to allow the construction of the landfill. We are a family company, employing local people and supporting community projects. We look forward to continuing doing that for many years to come.”

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